Calif. Republican attacks Sessions over marijuana policy

Calif. Republican attacks Sessions over marijuana policy
© Greg Nash

Rep. Dana RohrabacherDana Tyrone RohrabacherGOP angst over midterms grows Sessions under fire from all sides GOP lawmaker confronts CNN host in heated interview over Mueller probe MORE (R-Calif.) is sharply criticizing Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants DOJ wades into archdiocese fight for ads on DC buses Overnight Cybersecurity: Bipartisan bill aims to deter election interference | Russian hackers target Senate | House Intel panel subpoenas Bannon | DHS giving 'active defense' cyber tools to private sector MORE's decision to allow federal prosecutors to target marijuana users in states where use of the drug is legal.

In the Thursday statement on his website, Rohrabacher ripped Sessions for the decision, which the lawmaker warns will only hurt GOP chances at the ballot box during November's midterm elections.

"The attorney general of the United States has just delivered an extravagant holiday gift to the drug cartels. By attacking the will of the American people, who overwhelmingly favor marijuana legalization, Jeff Sessions has shown a preference for allowing all commerce in marijuana to take place in the black market, which will inevitably bring the spike in violence he mistakenly attributes to marijuana itself," Rohrabacher said in his statement.

"By taking this benighted minority position, he actually places Republicans’ electoral fortunes in jeopardy," he added.

The California lawmaker's statement came after Sessions earlier Thursday rescinded orders that directed federal prosecutors to deprioritize prosecution of marijuana-related cases in states where the drug is legal. Recreational marijuana, already a booming industry, became legal in Rohrabacher's home state earlier this week.

Republicans including Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSessions torched by lawmakers for marijuana move Calif. Republican attacks Sessions over marijuana policy Trump's executive order on minerals will boost national defense MORE (Alaska) and Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerDurbin: Senators to release immigration bill Wednesday GOP senators eager for Romney to join them Gardner: Bipartisan DACA solution possible despite Trump's 's---hole countries' comment MORE (Colo.) have joined Democrats in denouncing Sessions's move.

Rohrabacher also noted that Sessions's decision appeared to contradict President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE's campaign pledge to allow states to determine their own marijuana policy.

Trump told a local news station in July of 2016 that he wouldn't support using the federal government to "shut down" recreational marijuana at the state level in places where it is legal.

"I wouldn’t do that … I think it’s up to the states, yeah. I’m a states person. I think it should be up to the states, absolutely," Trump said at the time.

"By attacking the clear will of the American people, the attorney general contradicts President Trump’s campaign pledges to leave medical and recreational marijuana questions for the states to decide," Rohrabacher said Thursday.

Sessions's announcement Thursday threw the recreational marijuana industry into chaos and prompted a wave of backlash from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.